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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  November 17, 2020 11:00am-12:00pm PST

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spread across the country reaching most counties without evidence of improvement, rather further deterioration. current mitigation efforts are inadequate and must be increased to flatten the curve to sustain the health system for both covid an non-covid emergencies. many health systems on the brink. 73,000 americans hospitalized with covid now. highest number ever. those on the front lines are exhausted. they are warning, they're maxed out. they are watching their own colleagues being admitted to the icu psh icu. treating them, knowing them and seeing patients die of covid now at the risk of the same time of final isolation. >> patients, nothing we can do for them. >> flat out we don't have the resources. just don't. >> it is awful, awful, awful watching people die alone. >> this situation is unsustainable and it's going to get worse if we continue to set new records every day of
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infections. >> walked into these covid units. you hear the sound of the monitors beeping if something's up. the heart rate, respirations. you hear ventilators going all around the unit, because most of these people are on ventilators. >> look how many pumps. this is one patient. >> you -- hear bells ring whenever things go wrong. call it a code blue whenever there's a cardiac arrest. >> imperative, code blue, code blue, the code blue -- blue lights flashing. y'all, the morgue was so full -- of bodies -- that they had to bring in -- freezer trucks. because there's so many bodies. >> this is charles one of our icu nurses who was a patient about three months ago. >> taking care of charles was
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kind of scary. he was, he's the sickest employee i've taken care of. >> cases started to rise. had a couple of co-workers that got critically ill and trying to you because they're so scared and they're alone and it was really scary. we were truly -- worried they might not make it. >> when things are bragging out for a year, a year and a half, two years. we don't feel like heroes. we feel like sacrificial lambs. i want to head to the pentagon where the acting defense secretary is talking. let's's listen in. >> -- future acts of terrorism. we owe this moment to the. comrades who carry forward a lig se. together we mourn the loss of more than 6,900 american troops who gave their lives in
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afghanistan and iraq, and we will never forget the more than 52,000 who bear the wounds of war and all of those who still carry scars. visible and invisible. in light of these tremendous sacrifices, and with great humility and gratitude to those who came before us i am formally announcing that we will im implement president trump's ordering to continue from those two countries by january 15th, 2001. i clearly am thinking of where this started in 2001. by january 15, 2021, our forces, their size in afghanistan, will be 2,500 troops. our floor size in iraq also will be 2,500, by that same date. this is consistent with our
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established plans and strategic objectives. supported by the american people, and does not equate to a change in u.s. policy or objectives. moreover, this decision by the president is based on continuous engagement with his national security cabinet over the past several months including ongoing discussions with me, and my colleagues across the united states government. i have also spoken with our military commanders and we all will execute this repositioning in a way that protects our fighting men and women, our partners in the intelligence community, and diplomatic corps and superb allies critical to rebuilding afghan and iraqi security capabilities and civil society for a lasting peace in troubled lands. just this morning i spoke with key leaders in congress as well
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as our allies and partners abroad to update them on these plans in light of our shared approach. we went in together. we adjust together, and when the time is right, we will leave together. one of my calls to secretary-general stoltenberg, another afghanistan president's ghani who expressed gratitude for every american service member who fought for peace and strengthened the longstanding friendship between our countries. president ghani highlighted the caliber of our troops, which he noted has always been more important than the quantity. we continue to stand with him as his government works towards a negotiated settlement for peace. meanwhile, let us remind those who question our resolve are may seek to interfere with this prudent well-planned and coordinated transition. the united states armed forces remain committed to protecting the safety and security of the
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american people and supporting our like-minded allies and partners worldwide. if the forces of terror instability, division and hate begin a deliberate campaign to disrupt our efforts, we stand ready to apply the capabilities required to thwart them. as veteran whose life and family was irrevocably changed in the deserts, mountains and cities of iraq and afghanistan, along with the hundreds of thousands of u.s. troops who have fought there and were forever transformed by their experiences, i celebrate this day as we continue the president's consistent progress in completing the mission we began nearly two decades ago. i want to thank thing a ganns aganns -- afghans and iraqis and carry the bulk of fighting to secure their homeland and thank our nato allies and other partner whose fought alongside and taken
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the lead in training and advising the iraqi and argan security forces. we will continue to support their efforts. thanks to our more than 80 partners in the defeat isis coalition. we have destroyed the isis caliphate and ensure they never again gain a foothold to attack our people. in closing, we set out to accomplish three goals in 2001. first, go abroad and destroy terrorists. their organizations and their sanctuaries. two, strengthen our defenses against future attacks and, three, prevent the continued growth of islamist terrorism to include by working with allies and local partners to take the lead in the fight. today is another critical step in that direction, and a result of president trump's bold leadership. with the blessings of providence in the coming year, we will
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finish this generational war and bring our men and women home. we will protect our children from the heavy burden and toll of pe perpetual war and honor sacrifices mace in service for peace and stability in afghanistan, iraq and around the world. and celebrate all of those who helped us secure freedom over oppression. god bless our women and men in uniform. thank you very much. >> can you tell us why you're not taking any question? >> mr. secretary, the -- >> all right. there you have the acting defense secretary talking about what we had been expecting, the military expecting a drawdown of u.s. troops in iraq and afghanistan to 2,500 in iraq, 2,500 in afghanistan all of this to take place by january 15th. so just a few days before joe biden the president-elect becomes president joe biden. i want to bring in now our
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military and diplomatic analyst john keshi and cnn security analyst vivian solana to talk about this. your reaction to this? knew it coming. i want you to address the part where he call it is a prudent well-planned and coordinated transition. >> exactly my first point as i linked to him. to details, no indication where these troop, coming from, what skill sets are left behind, wa parts of the advise and assist in counterterrorism missions we conducts and what we won't contact. an awful lot we need to know about this withdrawal or it's a math problem, trump drew a line in the sand and said 2,200. that's it. no justification why they're doing it. conditions on the ground, talking everything being conditioned based. gave no indication conditions on the ground actually warrant this kind of withdrawal. as a matter of fact, as recently as a week or so ago the special investigators general for
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afghanistan said actually conditions were not right for any withdrawal. two other things that are key for your viewers to understand. what impact does this have on negotiations with the taliban? giving the taliban a huge gift aapparently nothing in return. they have not renounced al qaeda. in the region al qaeda lauded this as support of their efforts in the region. lastly, touched only this. happenstringing pr ining presid biden? we don't know what he'll want to do. general indications he also wants to end this war. making this decision, president trump is potentially impairing president-elect biden's team from doing the necessary foreign policy and defense policy spade work they need to do to get ready to govern. >> yeah. you know, vivian, he said, a warning, basically a warning to the taliban there. warning to forces of terror, if you're going to cause instability, he said essentially america stands ready to respond.
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i mean, he's talking about a january -- i don't mean to laugh. this is very serious. look, i understand how serious this is coming from a military family, but when he's saying we stand ready to respond, it's not trump's problem anymore. it's not that defense secretary's problem anymore. this thing is supposed to be happening a few days before the new administration comes in. >> right. brianna, recapped the three goals set out in 2001 the way the acting defense secretary chris miller explained it, that the three goals originally, destroy terrorism, strengthen our defenses at home and also defend against militant islamic extremists abroad. indeed, even if we've made progress on destroying terrorism, homelands of terrorist or sanctuaries ewant to say of terrorists in iraqi and syria not involved in this situation, we still have to think ahead whether or not our homeland is secured. that's something we can't really decide today. perhaps today everything is
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fine, but this withdrawal could have serious consequences down the line. of course, in a couple of weeks' time, fought for president trump or acting secretary, defense secretary chris military deal with. it's going to be for now president-elect biden and his administration to deal with and anyone to follow. this is the problem. short sightedness. perhaps safrs t s short sightedness. perhaps safrs tatisfies the pos today. we are looking ahead and thus far afghan and iraqi forces are not capable of necessarily holding down the fort, nor our alliesut in harmal way. oak e kirby said. so up of what american forces do there advise and assist. traininging a gann and iraqi forces. people say been there ages. they're trained. remember, the technologies are constantly evolvinevolving, modg
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and the tactics used, taliban, isis and afghanistan growing by the day, takc tactics changing e day. our forces are most able to adapt to this. they need us on the ground. what they say and i talked to a lot of folks in iraq and afghanistan when the news came out. they're concerned for their own forces because they don't feel they're capable and equipped enough to go ahead and with mission moving forward. >> yeah. that brings the question, then, eventually do american forces more of them have to re-engage to considerable more risk than their facing now? i want to bring in barbara starr to this conversation with ker it b kirby and vivian. i'm struck by the fact who the acting secretary is, a green beret, involved in invasion of
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afghanistan and a full circle, not exactly. look the troops are not drawing down to zero. tell us how significant that is, something he said struck me. i think said a day to be celebrated and talked about having the personal experience of serving in iraq and afghanistan. >> you know, chris mill hear been acting secretary of defenseless than a week. by all accounts, a very distinguished career in special operations. i don't think anybody questions his military service, but that is over for him, and has been for some years. right now he is a political appointee of president trump and carrying out the president's political agenda. has to be viewed through that scope. what struck me the most and several other reporters in the room at the time, and i think you saw. chris miller refused to take any questions about this decision. he turned -- came out, delivered
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and read a prepared statement and then turned heel and walked away. there you have it. that is how america's longest war just ended. at least for the moment. it ended with somebody coming out, reading the statement, and leaving the room. you know, you better than anybody else knows, brianna, you know, thousands and thousands of troops have lost their lives in these war zones, been injured. families and personnel, their lives changed forever. what we don't have in terms of information is a much longer list of what we do have. we know it's going to come down to 2,500 troops in iraq, 2,500 troops in afghanistan. afghanistan being the critical question at the moment. because there is simply no indication that the taliban have agreed to the terms they signed up to, which is to reduce violence. that was supposed to be the condition that it would allow the u.s. to turn it over to the afghan government and eventually leave. we are being told that top u.s.
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military commanders recommended this. there is no evidence at the moment that they recommended this of their own volition just as a bolt out of the blue. they agreed to what president trump wants. president trump has long talked about getting out of these wars and bringing american troops home. nobody wants to be at war one second longer than they have to be. that told, all good. but we don't really have an explanation yet and will we ever get it from this administration? three critical top military commanders, general mark milley, general frank mckenzie and general scott miller one of the most respected in the entire u.s. military who heads the u.s.-led and nato-led coalition in afghanistan. did they really think it was time for this with sdwraul becau withdrawal. just a few weeks ago, fired mark esper wrote a memo saying the
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time was not right. our own jake tapper reporting that. how does it go in a few weeks from the time is not right to this and defense officials saying, not on camera that this was something they recommended. i think it was a stunning moment to see reporters, free press in this country, asking for explanation about the end of this war, and seeing the defense secretary, the acting defense secretary, secretary simply turn and walk away. >> i think, barbara, an excellent point you made. he talked about his family being irrevocably changed, because of iraq and afghanistan. i mean, so was mine. and i would like more answers. i think there's a lot of military families out there who want answers, and americans should, too, because as they're looking at the national security of the country, they should want to see something that is done carefully. right? sort of like medicine. you don't rip out stitches. you need to do things in a
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methodical way. >> if this administration does not believe that the american public, brianna, you know this better than anybody, deserves full, complete, candid answers, who recommended what? why they recommended it? if people cannot stand up before the public and explain their decision-making in detail, i think it's something that many members of the military, military families, like yours, someone like me. that was inside the pentagon on september 11th, when all of this started. i would like to know the answers. the press would like to know the answers to explain it to the american people. that is not what we got today. we got a prepared statement, carefully worded by someone who was in special operations, served in the war. no question about his service in that war. i want to be very clear about it. no question that he served very honorably. no indication of anything other than that, but now he isappoint
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soldier. called himself the leader of the american military. if he is leading, perhaps what he needs to do it explain. >> indeed, bra. thank you for being here. we know you'll keep digging. on his way out the door president trump exercising a full scorched earth strategy. major policy moves he's attempting to make before joe biden takes office. plus, lindsey graham responds to accusations he urged the georgia secretary of state to throw out league ballots and one new york sheriff says will not enforce the governor's mandate to cease thanksgiving gathering, and will join us live to talk about that. some things are good to know. like where to find the cheapest
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just in. georgia, state's recount finishing tomorrow and affirm president-elect joe biden is the winner. hejority are spot-on with initial tallies. bringing in krnen cnn's amara >> reporter: good news, state election officials are on good schedule right now to finish the audit by wednesday midnight. that's the deadline. latest numbers as of 11:00 a.m., 4.7 million ballots hand counted out of the 5 million that were cast during the presidential election. i want to mention, brianna. we spoke with election officials in 29 counties. small enough so they were able to finish up this hand recount early and say they have found no discrepancies. in other words, the results of the hand recount they just completed are exactly the same as the original tally. all of this going to further
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discredit president trump's repeated claims of widespread fraud in this election. i also mention a few minutes ago the secretary of state here in georgia announced the results of an audit of the voting machines. took a random sampling of voting machines and he has said, brad raffensberger, no evidence of tampering or hacking on these voting machines. obviously talking about this because president trump and his allies peddling false claims millions of votes have been deleted or voted through dominion voting machines. big picture, hand count going at scheduled and election officials saying that they expect the machines to show that they are act krit on the other side of this and do not expect the overall outcome of results to change and they will meet the friday deadline to certify results. >> thank you so much for that information about this very important recount in georgia. president trump is still
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refusing to accept that he lost the election, and he is pinning his dreams on a second term on two things. pennsylvania and rudy guiliani. that is right. giuliani telling a federal court in pennsylvania he is legally representing the trump campaign in their bid to block the commonwealth from certifying votes, doing it because pennsylvania went for joe biden. the case argued this afternoon and giuliani has his work cut out for him. 13 lawsuits denied or dropped. sources tell cnn which president trump learned his attorneys were dropping a lawsuit in arizona he summoned team members to the oval office and demanded answers. colorful language was strewn about, sources tell us. one aide dropped an f bomb. let's get more on all of this with cnn's pamela brown and andrew kertzman author of the book "rudy guiliani: everier of t
quote
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emperor of new york city." tell us about this? >> colorful, contentious i'm told, brianna. a huddle that happened last thursday that the president was upset when he learned his campaign was dropping the arizona lawsuit and summoned many 6 his aides to the oval office. rudy guiliani was on speaker phone, and basically rudy told by sources accused the trump campaign lawyers of lying to the president because they had been telling the president that it was a steep uphill climb, that the odds were against him to win this lawsuit to do anything to change the outcome of the election. rudy said they were liars for telling the president that in that he thought the president could win through some of these conspiracy theories that have been thrown out there, and one of the aides, you pointed out, justin clark, deputy campaign manager fired back dropping the f bomb essentially. it was the next day, brianna, we're told the president took rudy's side essentially and put rudy in charge of his legal strategy, if you call it that.
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right now as we speak, in fact, polling says rudy is arguing in the pennsylvania court on one of these cases and started out saying there was widespread fraud, which we know is just inaccurate. plainly inaccurate. u.s. government officials from various agencies came out to say no widespread fraud in this election. so that gives you a glimpse into where this is heading with rudy at the helm, brianna. >> you've written expensively about rudy guiliani. talk to us about his role now? >> well, you know, president trump is not the only person watching his power slip away. giuliani's relevance, his finances, are all tied up in his access to power to the white house. so, you know, while others in the white house are virtually throwing in the towel, giuliani's holding on to power by a thread. he's happy to throw gas on the fire. so he's, you know, throwing
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spaghetti against the wall trying every possible means to reverse the outcome of the election. it's an interesting situation, giuliani is not a shy person when it comes to tactics like this, and it looks, from what i understand, that no other lawyer really wants to try this anymore. so giuliani, he stepped in. he is not argued a case as far as i know since the 1980s when a celebrated prosecutor. that was a long time ago. >> yeah. decades ago. so is he being, handsomely compensated for his work? >> according to the "new york times" asking for $20,000 a day. you know, a lot of money, but that's a perfect distillation of what i was saying. everything that giuliani has in terms of relevant and his influence and finances are tied to donald trump. so this is just one more example of how, you know, it's in his
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best interests to try to keep the trump presidency alive no matter how just distant the possibility of that is. >> pamela, talk about what the president is trying to do here. because even people close to him, i don't think believe he's going to change the outcome of this election. he's not going to. so what does he want? >> i think it's pretty clear that what he wants now, brianna, he knows he's not going to change the outcome but wants to sow doubt in election results. okay the country thinking the election was stolen from him, which is wasn't. sow conspiracy theories and delegitimize joe biden's presidency. and also nursing an old grievance with all of this. he felt rightly or wrongly, brianna, president obama and hillary clinton never recognized him as a legitimate president, because they talked about the fact that russia interfered in
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the 2016 election, which is accurate. hillary clinton conceded to the president. the transition able to begin right away, but nonetheless, the president feels look he was never really given a fair shot and was never recognized. so in a sense, that is what he's doing right now. these legal efforts are more of an effort to sow chaos and doubt. it appears to be more of a p.r. effort than anything. >> pamela, thank you. andrew kertzman, thank you for joining us and sharing your extensive knowledge about rudy guiliani. appreciate it. one new york shaeriff will not enforce the governor's mandate to police thanksgiving gatherings and will join me next. president trump working to undermine joe biden's legitimacy in instituting big policy changes on his way out the door. ♪
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all right. you're looking at pictures moments ago out of wilmington, delaware. president-elect joe biden receiving a national security briefing. meeting with national security experts and this is interesting, right? isn't normally what you see the president-elect doing. bring in jessica dean covering the transition to talk about this. normally what you would see, or might not see, would be a president-elect who is talking behind the scenes with, yes, some national security advisers, but maybe also getting that information from the outgoing
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administration. this is happening in lieu of that because president trump has not started the transition. >> reporter: that's exactly right, brianna. wa we are looking at is this kind of de facto security briefing that the transition team has put together, full of people who have been both already advising the president and others. people like anthony lincoln who he's come to rely on. counseling him during the campaign. former ambassador to u.n. samantha powers taking part in this. general stanley mcchrystal a part of this and a number of other experts in their field. to your point, brianna, typically this sort of information would be coming from the intelligence officials and outgoing officials that joe biden would be getting as president-elect. these presidential daily briefings, top lines of all the most important threads happening in regards to national security. that's not happening, because the general services
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administration, that federal office responsible for signing off on the formal transition has yet to do so. president trump is not conceding, but brianna, interesting to note we have heard some republicans, like former chief of staff john kelly saying that vice president-elect -- president-elect joe biden should be receiving these or it could be catastrophic to national security. he is incoming president and should know what's going on instead meeting with experts in their field but also not privy to the classified information he would typically get. >> important he get that and he's not. thank you for joining us live from wilmington, delaware. new york's governor is not only fighting the virus but counties in his state, limiting private parties to ten people the sheriff in fulton county took to social media declaring he would not enforce it. and the sheriff is one of at least three new york state
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sheriffs now saying they're not going to enforce the governor's order. the sheriff joins me fnow to tak about this. i'm grad you're with us. imagine enforcing and order like this is something that would pose some challenges, but also you, of course, have critics saying you should be doing it. you say you're not going to enforce the order limiting gathering to ten people. tell us why? >> i say i can't enforce the order because i think it's unconstitutional. to explain why take a second to explain what it can be top constitution of bill of rights allows a balancing act for safety of society and limiting individuals' liberty. example, can't yell fire in a crowded movie theater if that's not a fire. government can limit your first amendment freedom of speech rights. under case law and the constitution the governor absolutely has a right to limit how many people can go a bar or
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a restaurant, wearing a face mask in public buildings, private businesses. he can also limit what time they must close. that's because he's got administrative agencies like the state liquor authority, the -- the health department. those agencies issue licenses and have control over private and public institutions and businesses. so he's allowed to do that especially with a coronavirus, the cv-1 virus, don't minimize the loss of people or those that get sick, but under the constitution the order is vague. ten or less the most you can have in your private residence. i don't think that the constitution allows for the infringement of your own number of, the number of people you have in your own home. i start at that position. so he has authority to do a lot, but not to tell us law enforce no
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ment to go into people's houses and do a count. to get into a house you need probable cause, permission and emergency authorization. none existing. the government has authority under case law to quarantine individuals into their own homes if they don't stay, get a court order to quarentine them at other locations. lay out the land a little. my position as sheriff, i took the same oath the government did to support and defend the constitution of the united states in the state of new york and to vigorously defend that constitution. i don't take any issue with the governor's intent. i believe the governor's intent do what he thinks is best under the circumstances, but as a constitutionally, constitutional officer, i have an obligation to con exist went of stituents of follow the law. >> you feel earnest any about that. playing devil's advocate here.
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>> fine. >> someone looks at this and will say you have a lot of people in a home, then you're causing community spread beyond that home. you wouldn't expect if you were in your home and harming somebody to be able to get legal protection? you know what would you say to an argument like that? you're not allowed, not permitted enbecause the in your home to harm someone or do a number of things causing danger beyond your home? >> i like your argument, but you have to remember a couple things going on. first of all, limited to ten or fewer people. a lot of people in various countries and in our state, areas of the country, that may have an extended family living with them. grandparents. daughters and sons, boyfriends and girlfriends, parents. what if you have a household with 11 people who live their year round? you have to kick one of those people out, brianna? makes no sense logically and
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indefensible in court. the other component you mention interesting is this -- pick a number of ten. what's the difference between ten and 11? one person? does one more person make it anymore deadly, the virus? for instance, if there's 11 people and nobody has if and nobody's asymptomatic, they're not going to spread it. four people, one has it, he or she may spread it to the other three. the numbers are arbitrary and random. what i'm saying is, that i think that it sends a chill to the public and people in my community, they think law enforcement's going to knock on their door. count the number of family members and arrest them. we don't have arrest authority under the executive order. so i think that, have to tell you why i posted it. i bumped into a veteran. veteran baseball cap and and said to me outside a convenience store, sheriff, my wife and i are arguing about going to the familydinner at my
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son's house. 14 of us. my wife is afraid police will come to the house and arrest us. not going to that. i don't have authority fining or arresting people with more than 10 in your home. it makes it heavy-handed instead of asking people to comply. >> but you're not taking issue with the fact you start getting multiple units, look i don't think that the spirit of the law is to tackle families where there are 11 people living under a roof. right? ar larger groups of people gathering from multiple households. look, sheriff, i really, really appreciate the conversation. thank you for coming on and discussing this with us. >> thank you for having me. appreciate it very much. >> all right. good luck. it is a busy time, sir. president trump working to undermine joe biden's legitimacy by instituting big policy changes on his way out the door.
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plus, the republican in charge of georgia elections said senator lindsey graham suggested that he throw out legal votes. now critics are calling that criminal. we started by making the cloud easier to manage. but we didn't stop there. we made a cloud flexible enough to adapt to any size business. no matter what it does, or how it changes. and we kept going. so you only pay for what you use. because at dell technologies, we stop...at nothing. ♪
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president trump may be trying to cement his legacy with controversial actions during his last two months in office, but those actions may also be designed to put president-elect joe biden behind the eight ball even before he officially moves into the white house. to be clear, the president checked out on the biggest threat to the country. the coronavirus pandemic. but here are some of the things he is paying attention to. a drawdown of american troops in afghanistan and iraq. u.s. military commanders being given their orders moments ago. acting defense secretary cri christopher miller majority of troops pulled out just five days before joe biden is inaugurated. the decision, still 2,500 troops in both iraq and afghanistan.
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the decision from president trump comes despite warnings from military leaders like recently removed defense secretary mark esper that conditions haven't been met there for withdrawal. the "new york times" reports that president trump is considering a military strike against iran before he leaves office. report says trump asked senior staffers about hitting iran's top nuclear site but waived off the idea by vice president mike pence and chairmanning of the joint chiefs, not surprisingly. and trump is also reacting to iran incruising stockpile of our y uranium and the president talked out of that strike said to be considering other smaller strikes against iran. the white house also is trying to set up energy companies in the arctic they are starting the bidding
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and leasing process for oil and gas drilling sites inside of anwar. they are trying to get it in under the wire since president-elect biden has promised to block the drilling. the trump administration may also try to launch new actions against china in the final weeks. "axios" reports that this could create further sanctions against china companies, maybe greater restrictions on trade as well. actions like those would be harder for a biden administration to just rescind and they would make strains with china before biden takes office. what is making these moves more of a possibility than a pipe dream is the purging of the pentagon. first president trump fired mark esper. esper had disagreed with trump. all of this coming from a lame duck president and his compliant administration, which is becoming more compliant by the day as he removes people.
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as president trump makes major moves in the final weeks of his administration, he is shutting the president-elect out of getting classified briefings. joe biden can't engage with government experts on the global pandemic. he is being blocked from accessing state department resources like messages from foreign leaders that would be congratulating him on winning the election. joining me now is brett bruin. he is the former director of global engagement for the obama white house. thank you so much for being with us. tell us how this lack of cooperation from the state department affects the transition. >> yeah, we're really in a diplomatic danger zone right now, because diplomats around the world, our ambassadors, those on the front lines in afghanistan and iraq are not being told anything. it is radio silence from washington, and so they have messages of congratulations piling up in these consulates and embassies, but at the same time they don't have authorization to engage with foreign leaders, most of whom
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have already recognized joe biden as the winner of this election, and they're put in an awkward situation right now, and it is dangerous when advocates of china and russia are trying to take advantage of the confusion here in the u.s. >> what message does it send to allies or to enemies overseas? we just heard, you know, certainly some -- it was sort of a concern that was raised by the acting defense secretary where he warned, you know, destabilizing forces from taking advantage of what's happening. what do you think could happen? >> it's very interesting, because on the one hand, he's talking about a smooth exit from iraq and afghanistan. i was on a provincial reconstruction team outside of crede last time we drew down our forces and we had a year to do it. this is really reckless and risky. on top of that you're not sharing information with the
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incoming administration, so the likelihood that something could go wrong is very, very high, and i'm concerned at this hour for our troops and for our diplomats posted in kabul and baghdad. >> explain that, because when you're talking about -- you know, i think, look, i think a lot of americans, and americans are war weary, i think we all understand that. but they look at this situation and they think, a lot of them, okay, troops out of these places, these wars have gone on for years and years and years. this can only be a good thing. but there is such a thing about being more methodical about the removal of troops. explain, really, what your concerns are when you're talking about a drawdown that, you know, won't be done until january 15th. >> well, the key piece is winning the piece. and we didn't do it in iraq. i worked for president obama, but i'm critical of how it was handled last time. and this time we've accelerated
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even further, and what it doesn't do is allow us enough time to ensure, as the acting defense secretary was saying, that the afghan and iraqi troops we've been training are ready, that civil society, that the government itself can stand up. it just is reckless. >> brett, thank you so much for being with us. brett bruin joining us to discuss this very important topic today. republican senator ted cruz calling one of his colleagues a complete ass because that colleague asked another to mask up. plus, former president barack obama speaking with oprah about republicans, sarah palin and about how norms are being broken in society. we'll have that ahead.
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senator lindsey graham of south carolina is on defense. he's facing tough questions after he reportedly called up georgia's secretary of state and asked him to toss out legal ballots. the chair of the senate judiciary committee insists he has done nothing wrong, but he admits he talked to election
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officials in arizona and nevada, two other states, that went for biden. georgia is wrapping up their recount, they're expected to be done tomorrow. and the runoff elections there in january is going to decide control of the senate. so there is a whole lot at stake here. senator graham just spoke with manu raju on capitol hill, and manu joins me now. this is key, because he insists, manu, that he didn't say this to the georgia secretary of state, but there was also a witness on that call contradicting graham. what did graham say to you? >> reporter: graham said to me he did not threaten the secretary of state in any way or suggest that legally cast ballots should be tossed out. he said he was simply questioning mail-in voting, how it is occurring in georgia, and how those signatures are verified. and he also revealed to me that he was asking about how this would go down because he said he was concerned about the senate runoffs in georgia and whether or not those rules could be tightened before the elections
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occur that would determine the next senate majority. of course, this is not what the georgia secretary of state said. he said he believed the message was implicit, that graham was concerned about how these ballots were cast in the presidential race. but, nevertheless, i asked lindsey graham whether it was appropriate for him to use his perch to question state officials and he defended his actions. >> i want to make sure we're taking the precautions necessary with signatures like we do when they show up on election day. >> reporter: what do you say to critics that say you as a trump ally are overreaching, getting involved in a state election? >> what i'm very concerned about is, if you're going to continue to vote by mail, we need to know what systems work and what don't. it's up to the people of georgia. >> he thinks it's an implicit threat. >> i categorically reject that. >> reporter: he said he categorically rejects what the
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state secretary said. he also spoke with election officials in nevada and he said he also spoke to the arizona governor. those two races close states that went to joe biden. he said it's all part of his efforts to ask how mail-in votes are conducted. i just asked the majority leader, and he said about lindsey graham, you can ask graham about his actions. brianna? >> we should be clear, the secretary of state in georgia was indicating it seemed to him that perhaps graham was fishing for some ideas for a legal challenge as well. so i'll just put that out there before i say goodbye. manu, thank you so much for bringing us that interview you did with lindsey graham. our special coverage will continue now with brooke baldwin. thank you, brianna. hi there, you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being with me.
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this country is continuing to shatter its own coronavirus records. every day is worse than the last. you see the map here. more than 73,000 americans are hospitalized with covid just today. that is the highest total ever. on the heels of promising news, though, in one vaccine trial, we are learning another drug giant pfizer is now planning to distribute its candidate in four states. but getting the vaccine to the people who need it will require leadership, and the president is refusing to coordinate any sort of response or vital information with his successor and his team, so today joe biden is assuring national security experts he believes it's time to put the united states, quote, back at the head of the table, and he's already telling world leaders, quote, that america is back. and until that vaccine becomes available, public health officials are urging americans not to let their guards down as the winter months roll in. more and more governors are having to reinforce restrictions across their

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